Core 2 Research Programme: Pedagogy and Assessment

Project Number
OER 20/09 DH

Project Duration
January 2010 - August 2014


The Core 1 large-scale, representative study of pedagogical and assessment practices in Singapore has shown that teachers' pedagogical approaches lean more towards the traditional mode of teaching and learning. Moreover, their day-to-day instructional activities and assessment tasks tend to focus on the drill-and-practice of basic knowledge and skills. The intellectual quality of knowledge work has a statistically significant relationship with the intellectual demands of teachers' assessment tasks. However, these findings reflected teachers' instructional, pedagogical, and assessment practices prior to the launch of the TLLM initiative. In order to better understand the implications of the TLLM initiative since 2004/05 and to provide evidence-based information to the policy makers on upcoming cycles of reforms, there is a need to document and examine the current Singapore teachers' instructional, pedagogical and assessment practices in their classrooms. In view of this, we propose a Core 2 research to examine the changes of teachers' classroom practices in response to the TLLM initiative. Broadly, for the Core 2 Programme, we propose a suite of three related projects to examine the nature and logic of classroom teaching and learning in the light of our Core 1 findings and the Ministry of Education's reform efforts since 2004/05. Specifically, the Core 2 Programme has six key objectives: First, the Core 2 Programme will measure, map and model pedagogical practice in Singapore, including the definition of learning goals, the organization of classroom activity, the nature of the enacted curriculum and assessment practices, the use of instructional strategies, the character of the classroom learning environment, the intellectual quality of knowledge work in the classroom, and the structure of classroom interaction and discussion. Second, the Core 2 Programme will establish the degree to which classroom pedagogy has changed significantly since the introduction of the TLLM initiative in 2004/05 using the Core 1 data as baseline data. This will enable us to assess the effectiveness of school based implementation strategies in improving the quality of teaching and learning. Third, the Core 2 Programme will model the impact of pedagogical practice on motivational, cognitive, meta-cognitive and ''non-cognitive'' student outcomes. Despite decades of research, researchers and practitioners to this day still lack robust, systematic and precise models of the relationship between teaching and learning, as Graham Nuthall (2004) and Maurice Galton (2007) have recently reminded us. Nor have they yet developed and deployed research designs that will provide teachers with, as Nuttall (2004) puts it, the ''professional knowledge base that is most needed to improve the quality of teaching and teacher education,'' particularly ''knowledge about the ways in which classroom activities, including teaching, affecting the changes taking place in the minds of students: what students know and believe and what they can do with their knowledge.'' Core 2 is designed to address this lacuna. In the Core 1 Programme, despite our efforts to design multiple and overlapping measures of the relationship, in the end we had to rely on two independent approaches to establish the relationship between teaching and learning: multilevel modelling of cross sectional data on classroom practice and student learning (Panel 2), and a correlation study of the relationship between the intellectual quality of teacher assessment tasks and the quality of student work generated as a result (Panel 5). While we plan to include (and improve) Panel 5, we intend to alter the design of Panel 2 in substantial ways to employ value added models using gain scores to assess the impact of pedagogical practices on student outcomes.

Research Themes
Core Baseline Tracking

Funding Source

Related Links
NIE Research Briefs No. 15-009: Core 2 Research Programme: Pedagogy and Assessment
ReEd Vol 1: Taking Teaching Practice to Task
ReEd Vol 4: Assessment and Self-regulated Learning

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